Exterior Garages

12 Things to Toss ASAP When You Clean Out Your Garage

For many people, the garage is a black hole. Rarely used belongings disappear into its dark depths, and homeowners completely forget about them—that is, until spring cleaning rolls around. Take control of your cluttered garage by purging these 12 items. You’ll barely notice their absence, and you may even free up enough space to park your car in there again!

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Broken Holiday Decorations


Does your garage contain tangled strings of incandescent lights, a popped inflatable snowman, or a motorized reindeer that no longer lifts his head? You’ll never use those broken holiday decorations again, so toss them to the curb without hesitation.

Related: The 10 Best Things You Can Do for Your Garage

Mystery Boxes


Nearly every garage has a “mystery box”—an old, unlabeled cardboard container that’s been sitting in a back corner for years. You may not even know what’s stored inside! Anything that’s remained untouched for an extended period of time isn’t needed and should be discarded sooner rather than later.

Related: 11 Things Never to Keep in Your Garage

Empty Cardboard Boxes


After buying expensive appliances or electronics, most homeowners hang on to the packaging for a few weeks. But if an empty cardboard container has taken up space for months—or even years—it’s time to recycle that box or find an alternative use for it. 

Related: The 10 Biggest Myths About Recycling

Old Paint


Paint stored properly (inside a tightly sealed can in a cool, dry place) stays good for several years. But an open gallon is no longer usable if it looks dry, has a gummy consistency, or smells strange. Before tossing the container into the trash can, though, check your local ordinances; oil-based paint is considered toxic, so many municipalities require disposal at a hazardous waste facility. Still, some communities do allow homeowners to toss latex or water-based paint in the trash. If so, add kitty litter to sop up any remaining paint in the can before getting rid of it.

Related: 19 Cool Projects You Can Do with Leftover Paint

Broken Gardening Tools


Who wants to garden with a dented shovel, rusted loppers, or a broken electric edger? Get rid of those unusable gardening tools to make room for shiny new ones in the garage.

Related: Organize Your Garden Gear with 11 Crucial Buys

Outgrown Children’s Toys and Equipment


If your kids have started middle school and you’re still holding on to a high chair or tricycle, it’s time to clear the clutter. Donate unused children’s stuff to your favorite charity or pass the items along to another family.

Related: Control Kids’ Clutter with 7 Creative DIYs

Anything Waiting for Donation


It’s an all-too-common scenario: You’ve cleaned the entire house, packed up items for donation, and set the boxes in the garage for a later date. But the perfect opportunity to transport them never comes, and the boxes still litter your garage months later. Free up precious space by taking the boxes to Goodwill ASAP.

Related: 8 Genius Ways to Turn Clutter into Cash

Unused Sporting Equipment


Take inventory of the sports equipment in your garage and consider how often you use those balls, bats, skis, bicycles, and helmets. If the answer is “never,” donate the items to family, friends, charity, or a secondhand store.

Related: How To: Groom Your Garage in One Weekend

Old Books


Not only do unused books waste space, they also invite pests like earwigs, cockroaches, and silverfish into your garage. Give books in good condition to your local library, and recycle any unsalvageable novels.

Related: 12 Household Items It’s Okay to Hoard

Unfinished Crafts


Many homeowners start a DIY project with good intentions, then end up hiding the unfinished and forgotten craft in the garage. If you get rid of the clutter—and the feelings of shame that come along with it—you’ll create a more peaceful, streamlined space.

Related: Make Room for the Car: 7 Easy DIY Garage Organizers

Unneeded Furniture


New furniture is a great way to reinvigorate an interior, but the old pieces often wind up in the garage, where they collect dust, waiting for a garage sale that never happens. Homeowners have a good few options: sell the furniture, donate it, or give it to someone in need. You’ll open up much-needed real estate in no time!

Related: 7 Steps to Making Your Garage More Livable

Expired Chemicals


Nearly every garage harbors a variety of chemicals, including insecticides, weed killers, cleaning products, and antifreeze. If the products have expired—or if you simply no longer need them—it’s time for them to forfeit their spot in your garage. Before throwing them in the trash, however, check local ordinances; many of these chemicals require disposal at a hazardous waste facility.

Related: How To: Get Rid of ANYTHING

Toss It!


Don’t hesitate even for a moment about getting rid of these items from your garage. You’ll be happy you did when the car fits in the garage again.